IISEPS News, N 4 (10), 1998



Youth and Civil Society:
Dr. G. Drakokhrust, IISEPS
Youth Political Organizations in Belarus
Dr. N. Еfimova, IISEPS
Ideology and Policies of Youth Organizations, as Seen by Their Leaders
I. Bourina, IISEPS
Legal Grounds for Youth Policies in the Republic of Belarus
Dr. M. Zalessky, IISEPS
Young Dwellers of Market Socialism
Dr. A. Sasnow, IISEPS
In Which Direction will the Belarusian Economy Develop
Belarus – Elections ’99:
Round Table Conference for Analysts
M. Grib, Deputy Chairman of the Belarusian Social Democratic Party “Narodnaya Hramada”
Democracy and Elections

Dr. Yu. Drakokhrust, IISEPS
“Belarus and Russia: States and Societies”


Dear readers!


We are celebrating an anniversary. This is the tenth issue of the quarterly bulletin “IISEPS News”, which is published by our Institute. It seems that the summer of 1996, when the first issue came out, was not very long ago, but it is 1999 now. A lot has changed since the time when we started: the economic crisis has worsened, the split in the society has been widen, the political situation has deteriorated and Belarus’ international isolation has emerged. There are lots of reasons for that, one of them is the lack of reliable information on the processes under way in the country, lack of serious analysis of vexed problems, lack of sound scenarios and prospects of social development, lack of attention to and understanding of independent thinking from the people, who undertook to formulate and implement a strategy of the country’s social, economic, cultural and political development. IISEPS publishes its bulletin to fill up the gap. Our readers’ list includes heads of most important state and non-state structures, political parties, public associations, trade unions, mass media, international and foreign representations, as well as the country’s largest libraries. Did they pay attention to our information and analyses? Did our research, conclusions and recommendations, which were made in almost each of the 100 published articles, impact important decision-making? We are not certain, even though we receive lots of mail with positive replies and wishes. The world around us is still far from being the world, with which we would be content. However, we are not losing hope for attention and understanding from our readers. We still hope to see our ideal – independent, democratic and prosperous Belarus – that we are working for.
The anniversary issue of our bulletin comes out in a new, visually improved format. We also hope, you will find its contents useful. This bulletin is comprised of two parts.
The first part concentrates on youth problems, because IISEPS, with the support from John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, started a new project “The role of the youth in the formation of a civil society in Belarus”. The aim of the project is to use social research to re-think the role of young people in social transformation and work out a conception of its participation in civil development. For that purpose, a complete framework of research procedures will be conducted, which will feature the analysis of program documents of leading youth associations and legislation, which regulates state youth policies, a nation-wide public opinion survey, a content-analysis of the publications about young people in Belarusian printed media, interviews with the leaders of the Belarusian youth etc. The project will culminate in the organization of a conference and the publication of a book, which will reflect the most important and interesting results. Some of the procedures have already been completed. In this issue of the bulletin, we offer you the first results.
The second part of the bulletin concentrates on a problem, which has recently drawn a lot of attention from politicians, analysts, journalists and diplomats. It is the problem of the forthcoming elections. It is complicated even to formulate this problem, let alone solve it. Are elections necessary in 1999, and, if they are, which elections should be organized? The authorities have planned local elections only, while the opposition is organizing only for the presidential race. Some people support both local and presidential elections, others say no elections are necessary at all. To shed some light on these issues, IISEPS organized a round table conference “Belarus: elections – 99” for leaders of most recognized Belarusian think tanks. In this issue, we offer the most interesting excerpts from the debates. The second part also features an article by ex-speaker of the Belarusian parliament, Mechislav Grib, Deputy Chairman of the Belarusian Social Democratic Party “Narodnaya Hramada”, who has tremendous experience as politician and has won many elections. Thus, we are continuing to widen the circle of the contributors to the IISEPS bulletin, by inviting well-known public figures and scholars, who encounter difficulties in publishing their articles in state-controlled analytical publications.
We will represent the most recent and interesting publications about problems and prospects of political and socio-economic development of Belarus and post-communist society under the heading “Bookshelf”.
As usual, we are looking forward to your feedback, notes and recommendations, which help IISEPS make its operation and publications better.